Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Miracle of Birth


As in: It is a miracle anyone survives giving birth, let alone goes on to have more children.  I know, I know, again with the conspiracy theories and secrets people keep from you when you have a baby but: Holy Shit.  Yeah, I expected it to be bad but I feel like maybe people should be more descriptive when they talk about what to expect.  One nurse even told me it wasn't "that bad", for god's sake.  I'm gonna find her and maybe suggest she not tell women that anymore. I guess I just really had no point of reference though, so no matter what anyone told me, I wouldn't have been prepared.  But were the lies necessary? I mean, they could have started with like "yeah, this is going to be pretty horrible, just so you know.  Like, Stitches Where You Sit horrible".  There's a start. Or "don't be alarmed if your husband has a hard time looking you in the eye after all this.  You're both going to experience things you never thought possible".

Our story begins mid-May when my OBGYN checked to see how things were coming along, reached up and told me "Oh wow, his head is way down there.  Just like a big bowling ball! Let's get an ultrasound to see how big this baby is".  To my credit I did not respond with "yeah, no kidding lady, have you seen me try to walk?"  I kept my profanities to a minimum, deciding instead to remark that I wasn't aware until that moment just how far up there one's cervix really is and that perhaps she re-asses her definition of the word uncomfortable as it pertains to obstetrics.  When the ultrasound tech told me Ruiner was measuring at 8lbs I tried really hard not to cry.  I contemplated running away but my dreams were dashed once I realized I would have to take Jr with me wherever I went.  Lucky for me, the doctor agreed that anything over 8lbs was unrealistic and unacceptable, if not down-right disgusting, so I would be induced before Mr. Giant Head made matters any worse.  She scheduled my induction on May 26, my 30th birthday.  A dream come true. 
Spending your birthday in early labor is just as fun as it sounds.  Some highlights include: contractions that accomplish nothing but pain, an epidural provided by a regular customer who got to see my big white pregnant lady ass up close, (I'm really looking forward to serving him again. I can picture it now: "...and a Guinness for you, sir.  I do recommend the special, I think you'll really enjoy it.  Remember when I was crying from pain and you gave me a giant injection in my back while my butt crack was in your face?"  Maybe he'll turn out to be one of those people who doesn't recognize me when I'm not in my work uniform.  And so rarely do I wait tables sans pants.  I tried asking the nurse for some of those fancy disposable panties to put on before he arrived but he got there too quickly).  Also, they gave me a sweet drug that was supposed to help me sleep and another to dull the pain of the contractions.  Well guess who had an adverse reaction to Dr. Feelgood? This guy.  The pain meds did not work at all and the "relaxing " drug actually gave me a terrifying panic attack which caused me not to recognize my mother or my husband.  It lulled me to sleep for just about one minute and I would wake up in terror and pain when the contractions hit.  I was crying for help and yelling at them to stop staring at me all in the same breath and finally was lucid enough for like 2 seconds to tell them that I was having what amounted to a bad trip while tethered to a hospital bed, in labor and in the dark while something close to a tornado was raging outside, and needed I the antidote.  I actually had to say it to their backs, as I recall, because I made them turn around to reduce the "staring".  Turns out the antidote was Benadryl. Go figure. All in all it was an awesome evening. In another lifetime I would have spent the evening nearly passed out in a dark room, begging for drugs and wondering if I should put some underwear on just in case I needed my dignity intact...oh wait...  At least it took the sting out of turning 30.
First thing Friday morning I got to start pushing which was a hell of a lot of fun and certainly beats some of the post-birthday hangovers I've had in the past.  I was so worried about being cold because the room was freezing all day. What a joke! You get hotter than you could ever imagine.  Ever.  And, that, I soon realized, is the fist signal that you are descending into hell.  I felt really grateful that no one was cheering me on or calling the baby by his name like that was going to make him come out faster.  I knew I wouldn't be able to take that kind of nonsense.  My sister, however, was just full of jokes.  She and Matt were on either side of the bed laughing it up. I don't remember what was said but I do recall deciding I didn't like her anymore.  The woman took a picture of the placenta, to give you an idea of what I was dealing with.  But we're getting ahead of ourselves here.
After pushing for 3 hours, hearing "he's almost here! We can see his hair" out of the lying mouths of people I used to call family, the midwife decided to call in a doctor to vacuum the child out.  I have never been happier to see a human being in my life than I was when she arrived- not even my kid.  I was on the verge of walking out.  Or, again, realizing I had to take the hairy bowling ball with me wherever I went, making my way to the operating room and preforming a C-section on myself.  There was no fucking way I could make that baby come out with all this "push" business.  Just wasn't happening.  And, on her end, "pull" wasn't going so well either.  No. Not only did she employ medical grade weaponry, but apparently used her hands to destroy me as well.  Are forceps no longer an option? Cause God forbid we shimmy those things in there.  Human hands would obviously be a better choice. Really? Forceps damage the baby's head? You should have seen that damn thing when they flung him on my belly.  It was like a foot long. Damage done, my friends.  Matt says the look on my face when they gave me the misshapen baby was one of sheer horror.  He, you see, has never experienced what it is like to have one person reach inside you and pull out another person.  With their hands.  I was not horrified so much at the baby (though the thought of being a mother to an alien headed newborn after going through that labor certainly was terrifying) but at the notion of never, ever being able to un-know the things that had just happened to me or to forgive my offspring for having been responsible for them.  But I got a good look at him while the doctor sewed me back together and he wasn't so bad.  Pretty much what I expected. His head was regular baby shape in no time, within a few hours.  And yeah, I told everyone while they were weighing him and photographically documenting the afterbirth, kidney stones were worse.  So at least now that's settled.
I keep hearing a lot of things like "oh, you forget all about the pain" to which I reply, "no, no you don't. Please mind your own business while I sit on a block of ice for the next two weeks". My personal favorite was from the nurse who came to help me to the bathroom after the delivery, who, crouching in front of me waiting to see if I peed, told me "yeah, the first baby is always hard.  It paves the way for the next ones though"- literally an hour after I had given birth.  Next one? Are you serious right now?  You just took out my epidural and you've already got me pregnant a second time?  Hell no.  While they took the baby to clean off all the uterine grime I told Matt that I was glad he is open to the idea of adopting children if we choose to expand our family. Cause I'm sure as hell not going through all that again!  You can have it, Mrs. Duggar!

13 comments:

  1. Wow that was an honest account of childbirth if I've ever read one. Hilariously written as well. - Molly

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  2. Seriously...I laugh so hard I cry EVERY time I read one of these posts. Keep em comin. Oh...and I did this 3 times with no drugs, but I had 6 pounders and no kidney stones (but I still think you're a pussy). JK. You know I love you. And no...you don't "forget" what that feels like. Ever. I always feel like a cow giving birth when that thing pops out. Thanks kid. You LITERALLY tore mommy a new one. Awesome.--Carrie

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  3. Were you prepared in any way? Taking a chidbirth class can be really helpful in dealing with the pain. Oh, and inductions are very well-known for being incredibly painful. Inductions produce unnaturally strong contractions. Normal, natural labor is much easier to deal with. Also, if you don't have an epidural and have to lie flat on your back to push, your pelvis can open up much wider if you squat and babies usually come right out - without hands shoved up yanking your child out. I'm sorry you blame your child for the decisions you made.

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  4. Sarah- Love your story. It's everything I expected from you! My midwife kept telling me the same thing about Jack being "almost there." She said his head was almost out. She kept telling me to reach down and feel for him, knowing she was lying I wouldn't. But she finally convinced me to feel, I realized she was lying and then was more angry that she would trick me into thinking I was almost done when I had barely started!

    On a side note: the above comment is not from my bi-polar-I-had-a-natural-waterbirth-so-I-am-better-than-you-self. But I'm sure you wait on some psychologist who can help Isaac later in life with the blame you place on him for his birth...

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  5. Well said Alexis. My irritation towards, miss I know everything about being a mom but will still manage to screw my kid up, was expressed well through you!

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  6. As an experienced Labor and Delivery nurse, "well said Anonymous!". Yep, your oh so crappy experience was the result of your own lack of knowledge regarding birth and your rights as a patient. No one has to be induced, have a vacuum applied, get an epidural, receive IV narcotics, etc...these are all maternal choices that can have lasting negative effects on mom AND baby. We L&D RNs always see moms like you who come in for elective medical interventions and bitch about the side effects and/or results...sorry, mother nature seems to have it down and when we hospitals mess with it things can and do go awry. Please stop complaining and start blogging about women taking back contorl of their own birth experience!!! That would be far more beneficial than this "poor me I had a baby" nonsense. And yes, for the proverbial record I have given birth - vaginally - 3 times - with no pain medicine. I had an amazing doula, supportive spouse, birthing ball, walking, tub in labor...my first son was 9 lbs 14 oz. At 42 weeks...I did it two more times! Was it hard work? Um hell yes...that's why they call it labor not break time!

    PS - watch Riki Lake's movie "The Business of Being Born" to get you started.

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  7. Sarah--that was maybe the funniest thing I have EVER read!!!! Just laughed out loud for the last 5 or 6 minutes!!! So funny and beautifully written--please tell me that it doesn't end because the boy has left the womb?!

    And, just when I thought the hysterics were over, I got to pee all over again reading the comments--fer reals?? Thank goodness women who really care about other women wouldn't seriously write things meant to be judgmental or critical of very reasonable medical and parenting decisions!! So, I have chosen instead to believe that these very brave annonymous commenters are merely mocking the antiquated and ugly practice of shaming and blaming mothers. Thanks to them for reminding us how far many of us women have come!

    I can't wait to see how this boy grows up in your incredibly loving and very funny care!! Congratulations Sarah!!

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  8. Loved the blog!!! Also loved the bitchy RN making comments! A...seems to me that Sarah was being sarcastic but also just sharing the "real" experience of a becoming a first-time mom. And B...miss priss RN just proves why everyone treats nurses like shit when they are in a hospital...because you are know-it-all bitches!

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  9. Being only 19 weeks away from delivery your blog scared me a bit, especially since my family has a history of 10 pounders! I love your honesty and humor though. While I am admittedly naive, as I have not yet gone through the process, I think childbirth is individual and that no one should pressure a woman into doing it any specific way. The goal is to have a healthy baby AND a healthy mother, and some will need drugs, surgery, or inductions to achieve that goal. I plan on delivering naturally, but the best laid plans go awry when other issues, like kidney stents, arise. No one, no matter how many children you have delivered 100% naturally, is in a position to judge another woman for her decisions during labor. If baby and mama come out healthy and happy, the rest of it simply doesn't matter.

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  10. Hey, don't be scared. It is nerve wracking at fist, to be sure, but the doctors, midwives, nurses and doulas, whoever you choose to deliver, are going to be so comforting. They have done this a million times and really make you feel at ease. By the time things get overwhelming, like, at the end when you really have to reach into your reserves of energy to push, it is almost over! Plus, you have plenty of time to get used to it as the contractions increase. And I think you are completely right, it is an individual experience for every woman, in so many ways. You are the only one who can get the baby out (or at least almost out in my case) so what you want to do is what happens. If you want to change positions, you can. If you want to yell, no one tells you to shut up. Pain relief is available for a reason. Everyone is going to be really positive and encouraging, even when you decide you need a break or whatever. I feel lucky I didn't have that judgmental L&D nurse from above. I hope she's one of a kind. Everyone in my delivery room was just as cool and kind as can be. It was scary at times, yes, but if you aren't searching the highlights to put in a blog and make people laugh, I bet you anything the more overwhelming parts will become hazy memories in a few weeks time. It is not a competition or a race so do whatever you need to do. You'll be great!

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  11. Jeannie2145MommyJuly 11, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    I understand everyones point here. The story made me laugh and identify with the scary birth experience too! I don't think the nurse is mean - I think she's frustrated with the tone of the story that implied the nurses were lying and hiding things from the author. My mom was a nurse for 40+ years and it is often a thankless, exhausting job; but the women who choose it as a profession have a passion for it overall. We should all support one another, and remember that nurses are highly educated professionals who commit to leaving their families on weekends, holidays, and in the middle of the night to take care of you and yours. A little empathy from all would go a long way!

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  12. Why the animosity toward the poor nurse you guys? Sounds to me like she's encouraging women to take control and base decisions on birthing for themselves. Many nurses don't do that sort of advocating for patients, they simply "follow doctors orders.". I also didn't get a sense of anything but pride of how she delivered her children...there wasn't one suggestion that her way was the only way. Talk about judgemental....those who live in glass houses.

    Sarah - frank, oustanding story that all too many of us can relate to. Keep blogging.

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